University of Denver
School of Art & Art History
Electronic Media Arts & Design
Rafael A. Fajardo
Rafael Fajardo [version 1.5 list]
Miguel Angel Tarango [comments and additions]
Kelly Monico [comments and additions]
Jennifer Kiesel [comments and additions]
Matthew Benjamin Jenkins [comments and additions]
The Computer Game Quiz, I got most of them, but I must confess, I never had a Commodore 64 so I missed out on some of these titles.
Buzzcut article on Simulacra and Gaming. The most relevant reference I can make is the film eXistenZ. There is something the way Cronenberg handles the distortion of reality by humans that makes sense here. Reality and simulations are mental constructs defined by humans to access their world be it natural or virtual, or is there a difference?
Article on GTA (Grand Theft Auto) and how its content is already subversive. Developers not plan to release an online multiplayer game based in this gaming universe called All Points Bulletin where players can take the form of either "good guy" or "bad guy." The bigger question is if these labels still apply after GTA bent the rules of the hero and make the gamer take on the role of the anti-hero. The protagonist of GTA and its sequels are not white-hat cowboy types. They are more like Ringo, in that the character survived and was not at all above bending the law to suit her needs.
When the virtual and the real collide, code is for sale at eBay! Some might say "Get a life," but for many people, this is life. How different is this virtual life different then say the virtual life humans construct for themselves as they attempt to cope with the natural/virtual world (see eXistenZ).
The 50 most important games! They may not all be the greatest titles, but they are important for their contributions to technology or new ways of playing.
Arcade : A Blinkenlights Installation. I just love the fact that people can play Tetris on a building. Talk about constructing reality, I think I'm sensing a theme here...
African American Gamers page!
Video games have entered the gansta-rap era. Again, "playing" games as a means to a virtual life, a second life of pure fantasy where the user can live out fantastic dreams of carnage and hedonism with little to no social ill will. BUT, the notion of reality, again, rears its ugly little head as is stated : "When's the last time you bought a game that wasn't based on some variation of somebody else's reality? OR : If we're going to do reality, we might as well do reality all the way" Again, there is a conflict of interest, and by that, I mean in thinking about games as their own construction beyond just as second rate scripts that would not make good legitimate films. Games as games. They don't have to have specific physics to be good, I remember Joust being one of my favs and as far as I can tell, ostriches don't fly. Although there is an interesting comment about GTA just being a 3D version of Pac-Man when the user is driving a little yellow car and the blue ghosts are policemen!
The making of Half-Life 2. The sequel to what is generally considered one of the if not The Greatest computer game of all time. Myst fans will no doubt scream foul, but the way Half-Life integrates narrative elements, interface, puzzles, and action without taking the player out of the game environment as well as telling a decent sci-fi conspiracy are all highly commendable.
Hodgson, David. Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar.
A database of game designers and industry insiders. This text covers what it takes to make a game in a practical sort of way. This is not a treatise on gameness but on gaming and what it takes to make a game "fun."
Saltzman, Marc, ed. Game Design: Secrets of the Sages, second edition.
Macmillan, Indianapolis, 2000.
Interviews with artists, programmers, and various gamers, this text attempts to define what is about video games that is so important to this generation. The book explores the emotional resonance and sense of being involved with games. From going to arcades, to home consoles, to access to early military computer equipment, these writers contextualize the importance of playing video games and how that playing has influenced what it is that they do now.
Compton, Shanna, ed. Gamers: Writers, Artists and Programmers on the Pleasures of Pixels. Soft Skull Press, Brooklyn, 2004.
This text explores new linear media and how gaming is building on the emotive qualities of the cinema. Hanson claims that New Media Interactions explore beyond the square pixel or canvas of the picture tube to make compelling narrative experiences. These experiences are funneled through avatars that much like cinematic heroes, are the conduit through which the gamer experiences the gaming world and is able to experience a range of emotions. When the viewer is sucked into the world of the protagonist and is immersed in this virtual environment, the player or spectator is immersed in the computer "flow." This happens either through immersive worlds that are open and allow the player to explore (Tomb Raider) or through a more structured narrative where the player makes key decisions and choices based on the given narrative (Metal Gear Solid). It seems there is a key difference between those games designed in the United States and then everywhere else (to borrow a line from Eddie Izzard).
Hanson, Matt. The End of Cellloid: Film Futures in the Digital Age. Rotovision, Switzerland, 2004.
The film eXistenZ is about layers of reality and the simulations of that reality. Daily, people make decisions and play out their lives as if they were playing simulations. Citizens get locked in ritualized social contracts and become embedded in these social "loops." In this endless repetition, a person can get mired in the endless simulation of life or the facade of life so that reality becomes unnecessary; an idealization formulated by hegemonic centers of social control. And the best part, Jennifer Jason Leigh is The Architect!
eXistenZ. Dir. by David Cronenberg. Dimension Films, 1999.
This is version 1.5 of this document copyrighted under a creative commons, non-commercial, share-alike, license, December 2004.